When I found out that I was having one son, and then another, I will admit that I was a little unsure about raising a pack of boys. I grew up with a sister and a single mom, so girls were all I knew. My sister and I had an amazing bond (one we still share today) and I was concerned that kind of bond wouldn’t be possible with my two boys.
I was wrong — so wrong. The bond my boys share is certainly different than the bond my sister and I share, but it’s as real and deep. Sometimes I have to dig around to find it, but when I do, it’s like finding a diamond in the rough — one that shines so brightly it brings tears to your eyes.
My boys are 4 and 9, and though they have quite a few years between them, they play together like most brothers do. That is, 90% of the time they are literally on top of each other, someone is in a chokehold, or someone is being jumped on, kicked, or wrestled with. It’s not always pretty, and one of them claims to be close to death’s door at least once per day (it’s always a ridiculous exaggeration).
Yes, this is the part about brothers that is distinctly different than what I remember about having a sister. At times, it’s been jarring, especially since roughhousing is so not my thing. And yes, I spend a good deal of my day peeling them off each other or having to instruct one of them to peel themselves off the other. But I have grown to accept that is simply how they bond.
They bond through the wild tumble of boyhood. They bond through “He punched me again!” and “Stop stealing my Legos!” They bond through learning that they have no choice but to share their toys, their space, their ice cream, and their mom. They bond through pouring ice down each other’s backs when they’re supposed to be eating dinner and doing homework. They bond through climbing on every single piece of furniture in the house and being so loud my eardrums are going to burst.
They bond through laughter, and tears, and laughter some more.
Boys tend to move so fast through their lives, it’s sometimes hard to see the love that passes between them, but if you look for it, you’ll find it, and it will make your heart burst into a million pieces.
I see it as my boys are pouncing on each other on the couch, and then one of them wraps his arms around the other’s neck, and comes out with, “I love you so much!”
I see it in those moments before bed, when my older son will ask us to read the book we read him when he was his brother’s age, and he’ll burst with pride when his little brother truly likes it.
I see it when my younger son is hoping against hope that he can play with his big brother, who is holed up in his room reading. So he writes a note, forming the letters of his brother’s name in giant 4-year-old scratch, covers the note in heart stickers, and quietly slides it under his brother’s door.
I’ll see it at the end of the night when we’re reading in bed, our boys quiet for the first time that day, breathing slowly together, their heads resting on each other’s shoulders.
Maybe the bond between brothers has fewer words, fewer obvious sentiments. It’s sometimes hard to find amid the loud chaos of boyhood, but I think that’s exactly what makes it so beautiful. It’s sacred, unspoken — trust in the deepest sense of the word.
And I’m certain that it’s a bond that will last a lifetime.
I feel so blessed to get to witness my boys’ love for each other. It is like nothing I could have imagined — in the best way possible. I can’t wait to see how it will evolve and change, and although I sometimes wish it involved a little less rough-and-tumble and a little more silence, I love it for what it is, and I wouldn’t change a thing.